WASHINGTON - France's National Order of Legion of Honor, Chevalier (Knight) award was presented today to U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho by Frederic Dore, the deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of France, during a ceremony held in the French Embassy in Washington.
The prestigious award presented by Dore recognized Horoho for her exceptional career accomplishments and sustained dedication and commitment to giving new momentum to the French-American medical cooperation. As a result of her efforts, the two countries enjoy collaboration on medical research and development and work closely together to improve battlefield medicine.
"I am so humbled to be receiving the Legion of Honor Award," Horoho said. "This award has recognized such a diverse group of individuals and there is a lineage that I am truly honored to now be a part of. This award is not just recognition of the Army Surgeon General, but it is a tribute to the relationship between the U.S. and the French military."
The French Legion of Honor was instituted by General Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, to recognize the distinguished merit and the full dedication of both military and civilians in service to the French nation. It is the highest distinction that can be bestowed on a French citizen as well as on a foreigner. All nominations for the award are decided by the President of the French Republic who is also the Grand Master of the Order.
Headquartered at the Palais de Ia Legion d'honneur in Paris, the Legion of Honor is a secular organization with the motto - Honor and Motherland. It was the first of its kind to recognize honorable service in modern times and has similarities to a Roman legion with its officers, legionnaires and commandants.
The decoration is divided into five categories: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross) with maximum quota of each class. When a Frenchman is appointed into the order, he/she starts out at the class of Knight. In order to ascend to the higher classes, he/she must prove him or herself worthy by new service or merit. The highest degree of the Order of the Legion of Honor is that of Grand Master.
Membership in the Legion of Honor is technically restricted to French nationals. However, foreign nationals who have served France, or the ideals it upholds, may receive a distinction of the Legion, which is nearly the same as being a member.
Previous American recipients of the award are: Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gen. George Patton, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Maj. Audie Murphy, Adm. Michael Mullen, and U.S. Airways pilot Captain Sully Sullenberger. Also among the medal recipients are sisters Dorothy Levitsky Sinner and Ellan Levitsky Orkin, who served in France as part of the U.S. Army Nursing Corps during WWII.